Neil Black to consider British Athletics future in wake of Alberto Salazar ban

By Nick Mashiter, PA, Doha

British Athletics performance director Neil Black has admitted he will consider his future in the wake of Alberto Salazar’s four-year ban.

Salazar, who was Sir Mo Farah’s former coach, was banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency last week for doping violations.

USADA started conducting an investigation into the American in 2015 following a BBC Panorama programme.

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At that time UK Athletics also reviewed whether he should continue to coach Farah but concluded there was “no reason to be concerned” and Black has previously described Salazar as a genius.

Sir Mo Farah, right, celebrates winning the 10,000m final with Galen Rupp, left, and Alberto Salazar (Martin Rickett/PA)
Sir Mo Farah, right, celebrates winning the 10,000m final with Galen Rupp, left, and Alberto Salazar (Martin Rickett/PA)

Black returned to the UK on Monday after the end of the World Championships in Doha – where Great Britain won just five medals, their worst showing since 2005 – and will study USADA’s report before making any decisions.

He said: “I’ll be reviewing all the information, the board are obviously reviewing all the information and the first person I’ll speak to will be the chair Chris Clark.

“We will go through it in detail and that’s the point I personally will begin to think about my understanding of it, the implications and how I feel about it.

“It’s not something I’ve put any time into at this stage. When you’re the team leader (at a World Championships) you have a clear job and it doesn’t matter what comes up, you have to stay focused on that.

“I’ll play back the decisions I made and once I’ve had a chance to really look through that I’ll have a view.

Neil Black says he will consider his future at British Athletics (Tim Goode/PA)
Neil Black says he will consider his future at British Athletics (Tim Goode/PA)

“I was shocked when it (the report and ban) came out. The timing of it, which obviously wasn’t great in terms of performance for the Doha World Championships.

“My initial reaction was one of shock and I still feel a little bit like that at the moment.”

Salazar denied the Nike Oregon Project, which he runs, would permit doping, saying he was “shocked” by the outcome and would appeal against the decision.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has urged the World Anti-Doping Agency to investigate all athletes who trained with Salazar.

But Black insisted he had no doubts over Farah, who worked with Salazar for six years until 2017.

Sir Mo Farah with his gold medals from the Rio Olympics in 2016 (Mike Egerton/PA)
Sir Mo Farah with his gold medals from the Rio Olympics in 2016 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Farah is not accused of any wrongdoing and said he had “no tolerance for anyone who breaks the rules or crosses a line” after Salazar’s ban was announced.

Black will also work with Farah at the Chicago Marathon this weekend.

“Nothing at all has changed in terms of my belief regarding Mo Farah,” he said.

“I think it is important to repeat that the British Athletics and the medical and support teams were always the people who were always on top of and managing and directing the care of Mo Farah, so we have no concerns.”

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